"How to Build a Wildly Successful T-shirt Business"

By Cartess Ross

This is

Your Formula to a Profitable T-shirt Business

When my mom and I started selling t-shirts online, we put up a bunch of designs from a variety of t-shirt categories. We sold Christian themed shirts. We had t-shirts for nurses. Some for teachers. A few for firemen and policemen. We even had some for school bus drivers and cowboys. 

We soon realized it would be costly and too time-consuming to market and promote all of these different category of shirts. 

Instead, we figured it'd be much easier to pick just ONE category and put all of our limited funds and time into just that!

And that's when things started to move in a positive direction.

Trying to rank 7 different niches to the top of Google took a lot of time, energy and resources. The same logic applied to advertising ... Why spread the little money we had over 7 different categories of shirts, when we could put it all towards ONE! 

Pouring our money into just one category allowed us to get extremely aggressive and allowed us to get known in our space.

The truth about being successful

One of the worse things you can do is to try to be all things to everybody. The truly successful folks in the t-shirt space have all specialized in a niche. It's the fastest path to success in this business. A 'niche' is defined as: Products, services, or interests that appeal to a small, specialized section of the population.

Many of the larger t-shirt brands online focus primarily on 'funny' or 'humorous' or over-the-top 'offensive' type t-shirts.

That is a niche! 

Others may focus primarily on 'political' tees or 'movies'; while some may focus exclusively on niches like 'surfing', 'patriotic', or even 'dog' or 'cat' t-shirts. Your #1 goal should be to narrow down and identify what category you want to go into.

Why choosing a niche is the best thing for you to do

When you specialize in a niche, it's much easier to sell to a group of people that's already interested in what you're selling.

For example, look at the numbers on the chart below: These numbers come from a tool I use from Google.

It tells me that 27,100 searches for 'christian t shirts' was typed into Google last month.

Isn't it easier to sell tshirts to people that's already looking for them? Add up these numbers and it shows over 37,000 searches each month for 'Christian' related apparel and clothing.

40,000 searches for funny tees .... 

8,100 searches for Donald Trump tshirtsc... 

3,600 searches for 'gun rights' t-shirts....

If you're into skateboarding, there's almost 600 searches for those types of tees.

And over 5,000 searches for teacher t-shirts.

There's literally hundreds of categories to make t-shirt designs for and sell. These are just a few searches ...

You haven't seen anything yet. This is just the surface of what's possible with selling t-shirts online.

Another reason why choosing a niche is a great idea

At some point, as you start to build your brand, you will have to spend money on advertising to get your t-shirts in front of the people whose most likely to buy. And because you know who your niche market is, it's going to be much easier to find them and put your shirts in front of them.

For our Christian t-shirts, we marketed and advertised on Christian websites and blogs. We also advertised in Christian newsletters (both print and digital). And we advertised on Christian radio stations too; in addition, we targeted churches and ministries for fundraisers.

When you know who you're targeting, it makes it much easier to get your shirts in front of them.

How to choose a niche 

If you don't know where to start, I'd suggest you look at stuff you're already interested in, or have a passion for. Think of your hobbies or your job. Are you funny? Do you enjoy playing bingo? Do you take pride in being a nurse? Start there. 

Because my 16 year old daughter is into skateboarding, she approached me to help her come up with some ideas for skateboarding t-shirts. See some of the stuff she had made below: 

Skateboard T-shirt

The BIG brands do exactly what I'm teaching you right now

Before I close this out, I wanted to give you an example of a well-known brand that does this too ...


On the surface, it would not appear they are niched. But they really are.

Think about it for a minute ... Who are their products targeting? Athletes. Right?

According to NIKE itself, "NIKE's innovations, products, and services seek to develop athletic potential."

NIKE is the biggest player in the athletic apparel market with over $28 billion in yearly sales. It didn't just happen by itself. They carved out a market for themselves to be known in and they went all in!

You can do the same thing to when you niche into a market.

Now it's your turn to 'Just Do It' ...

The key to being successful in this business is to make a decision to actually start.

Most people who reach out to me are held back by fear. Fear that no one will buy their tshirt designs, or fear that their business will be a failure.

I'll tell you right now that you will make mistakes. Some of your t-shirt ideas will suck and won't sell.

I've personally come up with a bunch of ideas that I thought would be real winners and then they tanked...  But so what; It happens. That's the nature of this business. But for every 8 shirts that tanked, 2 of my shirts usually did extremely well and made me a small fortune.

But the key to success is to simply get started.

  • First benefit the customer will get from buying your product or service.
  • Second benefit. To find benefits, ask yourself: “What result will they obtain?”
  • Third benefit. Take one of the features of your offer and add “this will allow you to…” Eg. You’ll get access to 5 video lessons (= feature) which will allow you to watch over my shoulder while I show you step by step how to XYZ

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